The dazzling narrator of The Wicked City brings her mesmerizing voice and indomitable spirit to another Jazz Age tale of rumrunners, double crosses, and true love, spanning the Eastern seaboard from Florida to Long Island to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
1924. Ginger Kelly wakes up in tranquil Cocoa Beach, Florida, having fled south to safety in the company of disgraced Prohibition agent Oliver Anson Marshall and her newly-orphaned young sister, Patsy. But paradise is short-lived. Marshall is reinstated to the agency with suspicious haste and put to work patrolling for rumrunners on the high seas, from which he promptly disappears. Gin hurries north to rescue him, only to be trapped in an agonizing moral quandary by Marshall’s desperate mother.
1998. Ella Dommerich has finally settled into her new life in Greenwich Village, inside the same apartment where a certain redheaded flapper lived long ago…and continues to make her presence known. Having quit her ethically problematic job at an accounting firm, cut ties with her unfaithful ex-husband, and begun an epic love affair with Hector, her musician neighbor, Ella’s eager to piece together the history of the mysterious Gin Kelly, whose only physical trace is a series of rare vintage photograph cards for which she modeled before she disappeared.
Two women, two generations, two urgent quests. But as Ginger and Ella track down their separate quarries with increasing desperation, the mysteries consuming them take on unsettling echoes of each other, and both women will require all their strength and ingenuity to outwit a conspiracy spanning decades.
The Wicked Redhead tells the story of two women. In 1924 Gin (Ginger) Kelly is in Cocoa Beach, Florida with her boyfriend, Prohibition agent Anson (Oliver) Marshall ... until they both make surprise trips back to New York. In 1998, Ella Dommerich lives in NYC in Gin Kelly's old apartment. Her life is up in the air, and she tries to learn about the mysterious Gin Kelly as she makes decisions about her future.
I wanted to read The Wicked Redhead because of the 1920's setting. This is one of my favorite time periods to read about, and this novel certainly did not disappoint! I was surprised, though, at how immediately engrossed I was in Ella's more recent (1998) storyline.
The author does an amazing job at crafting two very distinct voices in this dual-storyline novel. Gin is lively and outspoken and quite a character. Ella is more reserved and thoughtful. I found the places where their lives intersected fascinating. While Ella's story resonates more with me, Gin's voice was so distinctive and fun. For instance:
"You can't lose a thing that doesn't ever mean to be lost, Anson. You can't lose a thing that belongs to you. A girl that was made for you, the same as you were made for her, like a handle for a bucket, like a pillowcase for a pillow. A hearth for a fire" (p. 45).
As Ella looks deeper in "the Redhead" (Gin) and her life, she investigates a vintage photo, part of a series of risque pictures that Gin took in the 1920's. My work is all about vintage and ephemera, so I found this storyline particularly interesting.
This is a big, engrossing book. It is such a lively read with many twists and turns in both the 1920's and the 1990's! I stayed up late reading this book and couldn't wait to get back to it the next day. I recommend The Wicked Redhead for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone who loves the 1920's.
A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz Williams spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons, before her career as a writer took off. She lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore.
Find out more about Beatriz at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.